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Council Policy

I—Original Precepts
(Adopted April 1920)

The Council differs from so-called arbitration boards in that it professes to be a court of justice and not merely a court of arbitration. It proceeds on the theory that arbitration involves compromise, which seems to mean in some minds adding up the claims of both sides of a dispute and dividing by two, while judicial settlement involves the application of definite and certain principles without any accommodation between the parties.

Emphasis should be laid upon the Council’s abandonment of the philosophy of power and struggle. The Council has clothed itself with no mandatory powers and decides cases only when the disputing parties have agreed to use its services either under the terms of their collective bargaining agreement or by written stipulation at the time of submission.

The Council has adopted the following precepts for its own guidance when acting as conciliator in disputes:

  1. The Council views with disfavor sudden changes in wages, as unfair to employers on account of contract commitments. The Council likewise, and for the same reasons, discourages retroactive wage advances, unless agreed upon by both disputants. The Council reserves the right, however, to render decisions making sudden changes, or retroactive changes, or both, if in special cases the facts appear to warrant such action.
  2. Industrial enterprise as a source of livelihood for both employer and employee should be so conducted that due consideration is given to the situation of all persons dependent upon it.
  3. The public interest, the welfare and prosperity of the employer and employee, require adjustment of industrial relations by peaceful methods.
  4. Regularity and continuity of employment should be sought to the fullest extent possible and should constitute a responsibility resting alike upon employers, wage earners, and the public.
  5. The right of workers to organize is as clearly recognized as that of any other element or part of the community.
  6. Industrial harmony and prosperity will be most effectually promoted by adequate representation of the parties at interest. Existing forms of representation should be carefully studied and utilized insofar as they may be found to have merit and are adaptable to the peculiar conditions of the electrical industry.
  7. Whenever agreements are made with respect to industrial relations they should be faithfully observed.
  8. Such agreements should contain provisions for prompt and final interpretation in the event of controversy regarding meaning or application.
  9. Wages should be adjusted with due regard to purchasing power of the wage and to the right of every man to an opportunity to earn a living, and accumulate a competence; to reasonable hours of work and working conditions; to a decent home, and to the enjoyment of proper social conditions, in order to improve the general standard of citizenship.
  10. Efficient production in conjunction with adequate wages is essential to successful industry. Restriction of output is harmful to the interest of wage earners, employers and public, and should not be permitted. Industry efficiency and initiative whenever found should be encouraged and adequately rewarded, while indolence and indifference should be condemned.
  11. Continuing agreements are recommended, providing they contain provisions for settling disputes, and for composing differences arising from controversial subjects, by reference to disinterested and competent judges.

II—Effective Date of Decisions
(Adopted April 1920)

The Council holds the responsibility of determining the effective date, when a decision is rendered after the anniversary date established in the agreement between the parties. The parties can mutually agree on an effective date, but this is not necessarily binding on the Council.

III—Council Meeting Schedule
(Adopted May 1948)

Meetings of the Council are scheduled quarterly, in the months of February, May, August and November. The Council may vary this schedule when necessary. If no cases are filed, the Secretary shall notify the Council members of the cancellation of that particular meeting.

IV—Deadline for Submitting Cases
(Amended February 1983)

A completed and properly signed submission form, plus 4 copies of the current approved collective bargaining agreement and amendments and (if filed) 4 copies of the briefs must be postmarked on or before the first day of the month in which the hearing is scheduled and filed with the Council Secretary.

When it appears to the parties that resort to the Council procedures may be necessary, they should submit their case well before the deadline dates set forth in the above paragraph. After thus insuring a place on the Council agenda, they should continue local negotiations and attempt to reach a settlement of the dispute before the date set for the hearing. A case can be withdrawn at any time prior to the date of hearing if the parties can reach a settlement and so notify the Council.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that local negotiations should be continued after a case has been submitted and every effort made to reach a settlement locally.

V—Appearance Before Council by Party Not Directly Interested
(Adopted May 1948) (Amended February 1973)

Should a person not directly interested in a case request the privilege of appearing before the Council, he shall be notified that he may appear if either party to the case desires his services as a witness, and prior approval is given by the other party, and the Council so notified.

VI—Disqualification of Member of Council
(Adopted November 1948) (Amended February 1983)

Any Council Member who is directly affected by a case shall be disqualified from serving during the hearing, or decision, on that case, or other cases presented earlier at the same session. However, a Council Member may serve on any cases which are presented after the case in which he is directly interested has been heard and decided. This policy does not apply if the affected member is serving on a panel other than where his case is presented.

VII—Delivery of Council Decisions (Adopted November 1948)

Decisions shall be mailed simultaneously to the parties as soon as practicable after the close of the hearings.

VIII—Unilateral Submissions
(Adopted August 1949) (Amended February 1975)

Unilateral submissions will be accepted by the Council only when all of the conditions set forth below are satisfied:

  1. The collective bargaining agreement between the parties contains “Council Clauses.”
  2. The submitting party has engaged or attempted to engage in bona fide collective bargaining in accordance with the terms of the local labor agreement in an effort to effect a local settlement.
  3. The submitting party has given timely notice to the other party, in writing, of intent to file the case, and at the same time invited said other party to join in the submission, with a copy of said invitation to the Secretary of the Council.

Upon receipt of a unilateral submission which qualifies under the conditions set forth above, together with the other material required, the Secretary of the Council will notify the non-submitting party that the case has been filed, and list the issues submitted to the Council.


IX—Protection on Existing Contracts
(Adopted November 1949)

In those cases where the effective date of a Council decision is later than the anniversary date in the agreement between the parties, and the agreement between the parties contains a “protection of work” clause, then the Council will order the observance of said “protection of work” clause on all contractual obligations incurred prior to the anniversary date of the agreement. However, contractual obligations incurred on or after said anniversary date shall be subject to the terms of the Council decision, beginning with the effective date of the decision as determined by the Council.

X—Converting Flat Wage Rates for Apprentices to a Percentage of Existing Journeyman Rate (Adopted November 1949)

It shall continue to be the policy of the Council to encourage the use of a schedule of percentages to determine the various apprentice wage rates based on the journeyman rate in a specific agreement. However, the Council will not substitute a schedule of percentages for a list of hourly apprentice rates until it has determined that such action is feasible under the circumstances.

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Council on Industrial Relations, Office of the Secretary
900 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
202-728-6165 Fax: 202-728-6168 Email
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